Tuesday 5 February 2013

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Here are ten things you may not know about the penny, which will no longer be produced in Canada as of yesterday.

1.  The penny first appeared in Britain circa 757 AD.  Its origin can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon term "penig" or the German "pfennig", and referred to any coin at first.

2.  The original pennies were made of flans of silver hammered between two dies.  During William the Conqueror's reign, pennies were cut in half (half pennies) or quarters (fourth pennies or farthings).

3.  Here are some sayings which include penny:

penny dreadful
penny wise
A penny for your thoughts. (John Haywood)
My penny of observation. (William Shakespeare)
A penny saved is a penny earned. (Benjamin Franklin)

4.  The copper penny first appeared in 1797 during King George III's reign.

5.  The bronze penny appeared in 1860 under Queen Victoria.

6.  Today, British pennies are copper plated steel.

7.  The first Canadian penny was minted in 1858.

8.  Canadian pennies have featured five reverse designs:

maples leaves on a vine (1858-1910)
maple leaves on a vine with the word CANADA (1911-1920)
two mapel leaves (1920-1936)
Centennail rock dove (1967)
maple twig (1937-2012)

9.  Thirty-five billion pennies have been minted since 1908.

10.  Loafers, which first appeared in the 1930's in Maine, were used by New England prep school students to hold pennies in the 1950's, thereby becoming "penny loafers".

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